Tag Archives: Jean-Claude Van Damme

No Retreat, No Surrender (1986)

Our Hero, ladies and gentlemen. Fear him!
Our Hero, ladies and gentlemen. Fear him!

In 1984, director Corey Yuen sat down and watched The Karate Kid. Like a lot of other people, myself included, he felt the flick was alright but the fight scenes kinda sucked. Yuen figured, “Why not go Chinese Opera Academy on this boy-gains-self-respect-through-martial-arts bullshit?” Two years, $400,000, and one (almost) all-American cast later, he gave us No Retreat, No Surrender.

It’s the best kind of awful movie: the kind that’s so bad, it’s honestly endearing. The story, the casting, the acting, the editing, the character’s motivations, and especially the tacked-on resolution…everything in this movie is wrong. And the result is glorious. Kneel before this movie, son of Jor-El, for it is the perfect combination of rip-off and cliche. It’s a Bad Film for the ages, because it manages, in spite of it all…to actually…kind a work…in all the wrong ways. Continue reading No Retreat, No Surrender (1986)

Universal Soldier (1992)

Duh...When the wretched idiocies and injustices of modern life pile upon you, don’t go on a killing spree: find a suitable target for your aggression. Something that can’t defend itself. Something that can’t fight back. Something that doesn’t break as easily as, say, puppies or children. Me, I review movies. The ultimate target. Nothing gets your ego big and hard like taking a shameless hack’s hatchet to something hundreds of other people poured their hearts and souls into.

Tonight’s example: Universal Soldier. You all remember this movie…don’t you…? Good. Neither did I. Universal Soldier is like the freeloading uncle no one talks about, since that time he tried to clean out the bank accounts. It may be the film most directly responsible for Roland Emmerich’s continued career. Yet no one shows this flick on cable anymore. The networks refuse to touch it. Crummy, straight-to-video sequels have failed to revive it and all of its stars have fallen…some harder than others.

To understand why, consider the prologue set in Vietnam. Private Luc (Jean-Claude Van Damme) takes time out from dodging mortars to encounter Sergeant Andrew Scott (Dolph Lundgren), who’s gone all Heart of Darkness on us. Even made himself a necklace of human ears to bring that out psychopathic shine in his Dolph Lundgren-y eyes. Luc, upright, moral, all-American that he is, steps between Scott and the few surviving villagers. Scott and Luc kill each other in a true blue Good vs. Evil blood bath, and along comes The Military to cover it all up. Naturally. Another Tuesday in Vietnam in the seventies. {More}